A Great Activity and a Project

I stumbled upon this little activity and was playing around with it thinking how it’s so simple and yet could be invaluable in the hands of a young mathematics learner.  It requires Flash so put away your i* devices.

It’s a relatively simple concept.  When you run the program, it picks a random number between 1 and a million.  The student’s task is to find it through narrowing a search on a number line.

In this case, I’m searching for the number 445.

First step is to find the range 1-100, 100-1000, 1000-10000, etc.  Then, you narrow it to between 400 and 500; then 440-460; then 445-450 and voila!

It’s such a simple concept but so important for students to master.  Access the applicaton here.  That might do it for some people reading this post – an exercise to learn and practice numbers on a number line.

However, in the computer science classroom, this is a interesting little problem for coders to solve.  While the original application is written in Flash, you could certainly assign this problem for any type of programming language and look for unique solutions.  One of the things that I like about a problem like this is that it is scalable for programming students of all levels.

Imagine a monster with a dialogue helping you along the way – or trash talking – or incorporating different graphics as the user works their way though the puzzle.  There’s way more than one solution to this project.

Then, the challenge – can they write a version that would work on their i* device?

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